Dr. Milan Scott Blake

Profile Updated: July 30, 2010
Dr. Milan Scott Blake
Class Year: 1966
Residing In: Fulton, MD
Spouse/Partner: Christa
Children: Lea, 1977
Richard Loy, 1992
Susan Gabriella, 1996
Occupation: Scientist
School Story:

I owe my love of science, my hobby, and eventually my career to Mr. Steed. I owe my enthusiasm and enjoyment of history to Mr. Holt. My passion for literature and poetry I owe to Mrs. Lake. If I can only light one flame like they did, I know that I have repayed them.

Share your story since high school.

It has been quite the ride! In the summer of 1966, I was off to BYU on scholarship until shipping off to Germany for three years. These years would change my life for ever and broaden my scope. I returned to my education at Utah and got married in 73. Working nights in an Intensive Care Unit, I became enthralled with medicine and would eventually graduate with a degree in Pathology from the University of Utah Medical School with a firm conviction to put myself out of business.
In 1977, I began a post-doctoral fellowship at The Rockefeller University in New York City to study and work with someone that had received the Lasker Award for his development of vaccines for bacterial meningitis and for his contribution to world health. I wanted to study and develop vaccines for other diseases and to improve upon the vaccines that had been developed previously. The work was exciting and engrossing. Meantime, I became a single parent, raising a 6 year old daughter in the middle of New York; all-the-while trying to advance my scientific career, writing papers and patents, having speaking engagements, and consulting with several vaccine and biotech firms. A wild time it was! But as my daughter, Lea, rapidly advanced toward her teens, it made me realize that I needed to heavily recruit for help in that department. After some very serious negotiations and discussions, a deal was sealed with someone that is a scientist like myself, speaks fluent German, wanted kids, and didn’t mind that I was somewhat older. What a find! Actually, it was my daughter’s suggestion. Christa and I were married in 1990. I remained at The Rockefeller University for over 15 years, but had yet to produce my first vaccine, although Christa and I was successful in some of our own genetic rearrangement experiments and we called him Richard Loy after his grandfathers.
After a short sabbatical at the University of Iowa Medical School in 1995 and the conception of our second daughter, Susan, I was recruited to a firm that I had consulted previously over a seven year period of time. I became the director of two divisions, molecular biology and protein chemistry. We worked on several vaccines against many different diseases. However, in the late nineties the UK was having an epidemic of bacterial meningitis and appealed for our assistance. This culminated in 2000 in the licensure of a new meningococcal vaccine, first in Great Britain and subsequently in the entire European community as well as in South America and Canada. It continues to be used all over the world. Later that year the company was acquired by Baxter International. But the exhilarating feeling of watching the disease rates in the UK plummet, using something you helped make, was unforgettable.
In 2003, I took the position as Deputy Director of the Division of Bacterial, Parasitic and Allergenic Products of the FDA that regulates all bacterial vaccines currently licensed in the US or in human clinical trials. I became the Director four years later. The duties of this position are not only to ensure the safety and efficacy of currently licensed vaccines, but also to promote and encourage the development and eventual licensure of future vaccines. It’s mind blowing! I have been afforded the opportunity and it has always been my gratification to develop and see developed, vaccines that have an impact on the health of humanity. I’m still quite determined to put pathologists out of business!

What's on your bucket list?

Becoming a better baker and cook

Any advice for your fellow Alumni?

Futura formare prospicere melius (It is far better to shape the future than predict it)

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Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:01 PM
Posted: Dec 16, 2013 at 11:01 PM